Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the engine of the Green Bay Packers offense. Two NFL MVP trophies and a Super Bowl ring have earned him that honor. But like with any engine, you need components to make that engine run. The Packers will need to rely on one of those components down the stretch if they are going to continue to be successful. That component being running back Aaron Jones.
Making Aaron Jones the Center Point of the Green Bay Packers Offense Down the Stretch
One of the first things head coach Matt LaFleur discussed when he took over as the Packers head coach was the importance of a run game. It wasn’t just about the run game either. He has preached about having a healthy balance between the run and passing game. He believes if you have a strong run game, it will open up the passing game as well.
So far, that mantra of a balanced attack has worked for the Packers offense. Rodgers has thrown for 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. While his stats aren’t eye-popping, they are still enough to have him in the top five in passing in the NFL. But most importantly for LaFleur and the Packers, it has helped them achieve an 8-2 record.
Rodgers and the passing attack have been helped out by the Packers rushing attack. Aaron Jones, the Packers leading rusher, has 589 rushing yards on 135 carries with 11 rushing touchdowns. He currently has a 4.4 yards per average. Backup running back Jamaal Williams has also chipped in 291 yards rushing on 65 attempts with one rushing touchdown. Having a capable backup running back has been an asset for the Packers. But the driving force behind the Packers running game has been Jones.
While Jones and his running production have balanced out the Packers offense, it isn’t the only part of the offense he has contributed to.
Swiss Army Knife
It appears that LaFleur is involving the running backs more in the passing game than former head coach Mike McCarthy once did. Aaron Jones has been the biggest benefactor in this change.
To date, Jones has hauled in 35 passes for 354 yards with three receiving touchdowns. His receiving ability was highlighted in the Packers 31-24 over the Kansas City Chiefs. In that game, Jones had seven receptions for 159 yards with two receiving touchdowns. This was his second game this season that he had seven receptions. In week five in the Packers 34-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Jones also hauled in seven passes for 75 yards.
Jones has made a name for himself with his home run carries throughout his young career. But his game is starting to evolve in LaFleur and offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett’s offense. With that, Jones is becoming a weapon in the passing attack, just as much as he is in the run game. The Packers passing attack has been in need of a complimentary piece to wide receiver Davante Adams and Jones might just be that piece.
Bad Weather Might Mean More Jones
As you saw in the Packers 24-16 win over the Carolina Panthers, the weather in Green Bay can change pretty quickly. The cold and the snow can come in pretty fast in Titletown. That is why running the ball effectively becomes so important for the Packers.
The Packers have two regular-season home games left. Along with those, they play the New York Giants in New York, where cold and snowy weather might appear. Running the ball will need to be a major part of the Packers offense.
Aaron Jones showed that he can run effectively in the snow. Against the Panthers, he carried the ball 13 times for 93 yards. That is the type of running that the Packers will need as the weather gets colder and possibly snowier.
The Aaron Show
Nothing against Aaron Jones, but if the Packers are going to win, it will fall on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is the leader of the Packers offense and the way he plays will determine if the Packers win their games.
But Jones can certainly make Rodgers’ job a lot easier. The weather will change, which might make passing the ball difficult. Jones has displayed that he is a very capable runner in poor weather. His running ability will take the stress off of Rodgers and the Packers passing game. It also could very possibly open up the passing game for Rodgers. In both cases, it is a win-win situation.
The Packers haven’t had a dual-threat weapon in a very long time. Jones is turning into that type of weapon. With the playoffs insight, and the weather turning, Jones might be the key to the Packers making a long run in the playoffs.
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